What happened

Shares of Camping World Holdings (CWH -1.31%) plunged more than 14% on Thursday morning after the RV manufacturer reported first-quarter earnings that were well short of expectations, causing at least one Wall Street analyst to throw in the towel.

So what

After markets closed Wednesday, Camping World reported first-quarter earnings of $0.08 per share on revenue of $1.06 billion, missing consensus expectations for $0.14 per share in earnings on sales of $1.07 billion. The company continues to be plagued by weak demand for recreational vehicles. Its RV and outdoor retail segment revenue was up 0.4%, but same-store revenue plunged 11%, and segment gross profit fell by 2%.

An RV drives in front of a western sunset.

Image source: Getty Images.

Despite the difficult quarter, Camping World officials said they saw the beginnings of a possible turnaround in demand toward the end of the quarter. The company is holding to its full-year outlook, predicting 2019 sales of between $4.9 billion and $5.1 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $320 million to $340 million.

Not everyone is so confident. Bank of America/Merrill Lynch analyst John Lavallo on Thursday morning downgraded Camping World to underperform from neutral and lowered his price target for the shares to $13 from $15. Lavallo in a note said the company's outlook for 2019 seems "optimistic" after first-quarter EBITDA about 50% below consensus, and he predicted Camping World will have to bring down estimates as the year goes on.

Now what

Camping World investors went into earnings season hoping for some good news after a volatile first quarter marred by accusations that its celebrity CEO had manipulated the market while taking the company public. Those accusations against chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis, a private-equity veteran who's perhaps best known as the host of CNBC's The Profit, seem to have faded into the background, but the suit's fundamental argument that Camping World went public before it was ready is a concern that that remains relevant after this earnings report.

Lemonis in a statement following earnings said, "We are excited about the progress we have made in our business" and that activity in April and early May is "encouraging for the future." Perhaps so, but on Thursday, at least, investors were in no mood to hang tight and see what happens.